Justice Department Files Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport

The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit against the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport (HACB), doing business as Park City Communities.  The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleges that HACB discriminated against persons with disabilities in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

HACB owns and manages more than 2,600 units of public housing and administers more than 2,800 vouchers under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.  The lawsuit arose from a compliance review initiated by HUD.  After issuing a determination of noncompliance and attempting resolution, HUD referred the case to the Justice Department.

The complaint alleges that HACB failed to properly process, decide, and fulfill requests for reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities over at least two years.  Federal law requires HACB to provide reasonable accommodations, such as physical modifications to public housing units, changes to program rules, or transfers to appropriate housing, when requested to meet a tenant or applicant’s disability-related needs.  The complaint also alleges that HACB failed to provide a sufficient number of public housing units that are accessible to tenants with mobility, vision, or hearing-related disabilities.

“Tenants with disabilities deserve the same opportunity to use and enjoy their homes as everyone else,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “This lawsuit seeks to ensure that HACB provides reasonable accommodations and accessible housing as required by federal law.”

“The complaint alleges that HACB ignored requests for reasonable accommodation from tenants with disabilities, failed to adequately communicate with tenants with disabilities, and failed to provide a sufficient number of accessible housing units,” said U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.  “The government filed this complaint after multiple unsuccessful attempts to resolve this matter with HACB.  Individuals with disabilities deserve public housing administrators that make life easier for them, not more difficult.”

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate victims, a court order requiring HACB to remedy past and prevent further discrimination, and a civil penalty.  The case is being jointly handled by the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.  The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.

CLICK HERE to view the Complaint.